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Bas-relief- Low relief sculpture.
Benday dots- In modern printing and typesetting, the individual dots, that together with many others, make up lettering and images. The recreation of benday dots was used by artist Roy Lichtenstein.
Biomorphic- adjective used to describe forms that resemble or suggest forms found in nature.
Black figure- A style or technique of ancient Greek pottery in which black figures are painted on a red clay ground.
Blackware- A ceramic technique that produces pottery with primarily black surface.
Block printing- Creation of a printed image, such as a woodcut or wood engraving from a carved woodblock.
Boiserie- Decoratively carved and/or painted wood paneling or wainscoting, usually applied to seventeenth an eighteenth century French interiors.
Boss- a decorative knoblike element. Bosses can be found in many places, such as the intersection of a gothic vault rib.
Breakfast piece- A still life painting representing food and drink normally eaten at breakfast.
Bronze- An alloy of copper and tin, also any sculpture or object made from the substance.
Calligraphy- The art of highly ornamental handwriting.
Camera obscura- An early cameralike device used in the Renaissance and later for recording images of nature.
Campanile- The Italian term for a free standing tower.
Canon of proportions- A set of ideal mathematical ratios in art based on measurements of the human body.
Capriccio- A painting or print of a fantastic imaginary landscape, usually with architecture.
Caricature- An artwork that exaggerates individual peculiarities usually with humorous or satirical intent.
Caryatid- A sculpture of a draped female figure acting as a column.
Cenotaph- A funerary monument commemorating an individual or group buried elsewhere.
Chacmool- In Mayan sculpture, a half reclining figure, probably representing an offering bearer.
Chamfer- The slanted surface produced when an angle is trimmed or beveled, common in building and metalwork.
Champieve- Enamel technique in which the cells gouged out of the metal plate hold colored glass.
Chasing- Ornamentation made on metal by incising or hammering the surface.
Chattris- A decorative pavilion with an umbrella shaped dome in Indian architecture.
Chevron- A decorative or heraldic motif of Vs, a zigzag pattern.
Chiaroscuro- An Italian word designating the contrast of dark and light in a painting, drawing, or print. Chiaroscuro creates spatial depth and volumetric ((rendering the impression of three dimensional volumes) forms through graduations in the intensity of light and shadow.
Chinoiserie- The decorative imitation of Chinese art and style common in Europe in the Eighteenth century.
Chromolithography- A type of lithographic process using color. A new stone is made for each color and all are printed onto the same piece of paper to create a single, colorful lithographic image.
Classical- A term referring to the art and architecture of Ancient Greece between c 480-320 BCE
Coffer- A recessed decorative panel that is used to reduce the weight of and to decorate ceilings or vaults. The use of coffers is called coffering.
Collage- A technique in which cutout forms of paper, cloth or found materials are pasted onto another surface, also a work of art created by this process. The drawing "Flying the Coop" was originally a collage, then made into a drawing.
Colonnade- A row of columns supporting a straight lintel (as in a porch or portico) or a series of arches.
Column statue- A column carved to depict a human figure.
Complementary color- The primary and secondary colors across from each other on the color wheel (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple). When juxtaposed, the intensity of each color increases, when mixed they negate each other to make a neutral grey brown.
Cone Mosaic- An early type of of surface decoration created by pressing colored cones of baked clay into prepared wet plaster; associated with Sumerian architecture.
Connoisseurship- A term derived from the French word connoisseur, meaning "an expert" and signifying the study and evaluation of art based primarily on formal, visual, and stylistic analysis. A connoisseur studies the style and technique of an object to deduce it's relative quality and possible maker. this is done through visual association with other similar objects and styles.
Contextualism- An interpretive approach in art history that focuses on the culture surrounding an art object. Unlike connoisseurship, contextualism utilizes the literature, history, economic, and social developments (among other things) of a period as well as the object itself, to explain the meaning of an artwork.
Contrapposto - An Italian term meaning "set against" used to describe the twisted pose resulting from parts of the body set in opposition to each other around a central axis."Man in Blue Green and Yellow" is an abstract version of this concept.
Cruciform- A term describing anything that is cross shaped, as in the cruciform plan of a church.
Cuneiform- An early form of writing with wedge shaped marks impressed into wet clay with a stylus, primarily used by ancient Mesopotamians.
Cycle- A series of images depicting a story or theme intended to be displayed together, and forming a visual narrative. View the "Voyage of Life" slide show for a great example of cycle painting.